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Published: Thursday, 10/1/2009

Arabs must affirm state of Israel

A letter writer accuses President Obama of "slipping" in his history lessons with respect to Israel, but it is the writer who needs a history lesson.

When Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, this was done within the context of understandings reached between Prime Minister Sharon and President Bush that portions of the West Bank would be retained by Israel in a future peace agreement.

The obstacle is recognition. Until the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, they can define the whole of Israel as just one big "illegal settlement."

Once there is recognition, borders can be defined between two states that recognize one another's legitimacy. Only at that point can it be determined what settlements are illegal and which ones are not.

Prime Minister Netanyahu stated in a Sept. 22 CNN interview:

"Any time we have encountered an Arab leader who wanted to make peace, we made peace. Anwar Sadat came. Menachem Begin of the Likud made peace. The late King Hussein came. Yitzhak Rabin of Labor made peace. I'm telling you that, if Mr. Abbas, genuinely steps forward and says, we recognize the state of Israel, we're willing to make peace with the Jewish state, just that, the Jewish state, and it will be a peace of recognition and security, then my government will make peace.

"The issue of settlements has to be discussed at the end or in the context within these negotiations, not before. But we have to talk in order to talk about it. Let's just get on with it and start the peace process again."

The letter writer should devote his efforts to encouraging meaningful steps from the Arab countries to show that this time they are serious about a peaceful two-state solution.

Wendy Goldstein

Director

Jewish Community

Relations Council

United Jewish Council

of Greater Toledo

My husband and I were six rows up in the balcony at the Willie Nelson concert. Willie gave a fine performance and the audience rewarded him with their adulation. However, sitting in front of us was one of the dearest shows we ever expected to witness - an elderly father and his middle-aged son.

It was obvious who was the greater fan. Dad was thrilled beyond a doubt. At one point we offered him our binoculars to better see his idol. The son hugged his dad periodically and they bantered back and forth during the performance, showing tremendous love and respect.

The last strains of "On the Road Again" reverberated, the audience was on their feet cheering for more, and that's when we witnessed a tear-jerker. The son pulled out a Willie Nelson hat and slipped it to his dad.

The joy and delight of that father will stay with us a long time.

We left with fond memories and a tear in our eye.

Oh, the father and son? Mike Bell and his dad.

We can't vote for him. But we sure can tell you he's a winner!

Richard and Netta Pawlak

Temperance



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